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School Maturity Benchmarks Evaluation

While I do not currently work at a school I chose to evaluate Freedom High School where I did work for a year during the 2009-2010 school year. In order to find the most accurate results I contacted and worked with a colleague whom I believed would have an in depth perspective on the maturity status of the school and the school district. My colleague has worked at the school for nearly 20 years and has seen quite dramatic changes during that time. The school has approximately 2,000 students 86 staff members, 1 principal, and 4 assistant principals. Of course the necessary support staff including secretaries, counselors, etc. are all in place. The school has students from families a wide variety of income levels from poverty to extremely wealthy but is, for the most part, middle class.

Maturity Model Benchmarks

Behavioral: Integrated (Appropriate technology use is formalized and embraced in many parts of the school) Technology used by most teachers but not to full potential as some teachers use only what they are specifically trained to use and don't spend enough time practicing how to more creatively take advantage of it. Every classroom has smart boards, but not all teachers use. Teacher to teacher smart phone communications are used for reminders, emergencies including district wide alert systems, and administrator contact. Electronic monitoring of levels of discipline are in place notifying teachers if a student of their may be in In School Suspension. Electronic personalized key cards are used for staff entering the building. Resource Infrastructure: Intelligent (Comprehensive policy exists and has been approved by the organizations governing body) Long term and short term policies in place, district wide communication of the policies is clear, full time IT staff regular monitors all systems, and student data analysis accessible to monitor (AYP -Annual Yearly Progress). Staff feedback is strongly considered in all areas other than specific budget amounts in order to avoid contention between members.

Behavioral: Integrated (School-wide comprehensive planning receives informal review, and is connected to other planning efforts)

PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) collaborate to share best practices but the biggest challenge is teachers who don't want to learn new technology and processes. Others may use it more for students but less for themselves. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (Comprehensive technology plan that receives informal review and some connection to planning efforts) District collaborates with The Burke Group and maintains a program where teachers study and observe fellow staff members to learn even at a district level best practices. Rather than sit in an inservice meeting and be fed new policy/procedure, teachers are more involved in planning process through observations.

Behavioral: Intelligent (Comprehensive long-term budgeting for the institution; multiple budgets including upgrades, etc.) Although budget is long term and clear it is only shared with administrators. This policy came to be after a very contentious battle many years back. Because of this technology budget has not been shared with or revealed to staff in nearly 10 years. Is decided by administration to avoid contention. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated (Specific technology budget is provided in addition to line items in other budgets) District makes final decisions on all budgets based on above information.

Administrative Information
Behavioral: Intelligent (Administrative systems are utilized by most of the staff members; some paperless systems are in place) Most systems are electronic i.e. attendance and grades, but paper is still used in some cases. Powerschool is the web based standard. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (Administrative systems are available to all administrators and staff) Systems are available to all teachers, administrators and staff although some choose not to use them or to have their TA do it for them. Privacy laws do prohibit all teachers from access some student information.

Electronic Information
Behavioral: Intelligent (Students and staff are very dependent upon information resources, and utilize them regularly) School website gives access to student grades, personal progress, and project information from teachers. Teachers and students use email communication and store/share information on a server.

Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated (Resources are fairly comprehensive providing depth or diversity, but not both. Access is available to most) Access available for most but some policies prohibit technology use in school - smart phones, ipads, etc. All teachers have a desktop computer with smart board and projector. Some have an additional laptop if their personal desk placement is not conducive to use with projector. Library and computer lab hours begin only a short time before school and are only available for 1 hour after school.

Behavioral: Emergent (Few staff and no students use technology for evaluation of student work) Virtually no teachers or students are using technology for assessment. In the photography class weekly critiques of photography work is done using smart board, laptop, and projectors, but that is really it. Resource/Infrastructure: Emergent (Electronic tools are rarely used for assessment and are not readily available) No systems are in place to use technology for assessment.

Curricular Integration
Behavioral: Intelligent (Technology and related resources are available for all Curriculum curricular areas) Each Classroom has smart boards, wireless web access, and Teachers have computers to use while teaching lessons. Students are often given follow up assignments that require them to use the internet either from a computer lab, library, or home to complete assignments. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated (Technology and related resources are available for most curricular areas) Wireless network in place but not ready for heavy use. Students can access wireless network only with own Laptop - no smart phones or mobile devices allowed.

Teacher Use
Behavioral: Integrated (Daily use by teachers for administration and curriculum) Teachers use internet, computers, projectors, and smart boards every day and are highly dependent on them. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (All teachers have access to appropriate technology in their work area) Systems in place to ensure teacher success have been previously mentioned.

Student Use

Behavioral: Islands (Students use technology often, but in limited ways) Teachers limit access in cases when they probly shouldn't. Fear of student misuse or destruction of property is still strong in too many teachers. Students do use technology for basic tasks like internet use, typing papers, etc. but again is limited to not much more than that for most teachers. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated (Most students have consistent and regular access to appropriate technologies) Resources are available to students and district/school has made them available but again, too many teachers restrict or limit student use out of fear.

Stakeholder Involvement
Behavioral: Islands (Many of the groups are aware of the planning and implementation procedure, but few are engaged in the process) Parents, students, community members have 24/7 updates on student progress. PR focuses on weekly updates on website, radio, TV, etc. but only district coordinator and administrators are involved in the planning and process. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands (Many of the groups are represented in the planning and implementation process) Teachers and administrators are represented throughout the process but students and community members are not.

Administrative Support
Behavioral: Integrated (On-going discussion with the administration) Administrative Technology team very active with instruction and support. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (Significant formal administration, time and support allocated to the planning and implementation process) Due to recent remodeling of schools in district and new schools having been built, a strong effort has been made to integrate technology on a district wide level and to provide support for the new technology.

Behavioral: Integrated (Most staff members participate in technology training activities) Most staff members participate in training. Staff members share best practices and new skills leaned in inservice meetings. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (Training at all levels of the organization, with area experts

in each building) Regular training occurs with opportunities for all staff members to participate. Students are also trained and learn problem solving skills. Some of the students are on teams that will be called in to trouble shoot.

Technical/Infrastructure Support
Behavioral: Integrated (Most staff utilize formal and informal support) Most staff are using tech support. Some do not use all of the resources presented to them. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (Full-time personnel to address all technical support needs) Teachers can call Help desk which has ability to remotely access individual computers, asses problems and fix them. Student support teams assigned to each building as well.

Local Area Networking (LAN)
Behavioral: Intelligent (Staff use available WAN services for video, voice, and sophisticated data needs) Both wired and wireless networks are available in each classroom and throughout campus. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated (High-speed networking with access to all working environments) Bandwidth cannot support too many students using wireless network. Students and teachers have personal storage space on server.

District Area Networking

Behavioral: Intelligent (Staff use available WAN services for video, voice, and sophisticated data needs) Network building to building or school to school. Web site for each department to share data within district. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (Comprehensive network services with high-speed lines, voice, video, and data capacity; data services are available) Recent upgrades in new schools and remodel projects have allowed for district wide integration of technologies and ability for teachers from school to school to share information.

Internet Access
Behavioral: Intelligent (All staff and students use the Internet extensively for video, voice, and sophisticated data needs) Only limited by content restrictions. Alternate routs are available for saving data if server is down.

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (Direct Internet access to all locations) Wired and wireless available with speeds that have increased significantly over the past couple of years.

Communication Systems
Behavioral: Intelligent (E-mail is an integral part of the school learning and support communications) Email is used daily not just for communication between teachers and administrators, but also between parents and teachers when necessary. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent (E-mail is available to all staff and students) All staff and students have a school specific email address.

New Technologies
Behavioral: Integrated (New technologies are readily accepted by most staff members) Most staff members to accept new technology, but as previously stated some are hesitant. Mobile devices not integrated to desired degree. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated (New technologies are readily accepted by the staff with moderate implementation) Appears too be in place, but recent wireless technologies have not been tested on large scale. Administration has access even at a distance from buildings.

Comprehensive Technologies
Behavioral: Integrated (Technology is fairly comprehensive, but lacks more advanced techniques) Video conferencing available, but not being used. Security has handled device to issue passes to students in hallways who are tardy. Tardy shows up on individual records. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated (Available technology is used including voice, etc., but equipment has not reached full potential) Despite good marks throughout on technology and use rapid advances are causing a need for upgrades soon.

Based on the survey I would rate Freedom High School right in the middle of Integrated and Intelligent. This is based on the fact that 16 of the categories for each had those ratings. Another few categories ranked lower, but their number was less significant. I also would give it this rating based on the fact that the district has a long term comprehensive plan that does not just include each individual school, but the

integration of all district schools in a manner that will allow for enhanced future collaboration, training and sharing. The areas for immediate improvement that I could see are the use of technology for assessment, integration of students and parents into future comprehensive technology plans, and some teacher's limiting of student use of technology. Because of an extremely contentious and negative experience many years ago when attempting to allow more of the stakeholders to participate the district has abandoned the idea completely and now only a handful of district and school administrators have a say in the process. Fortunately for this school, and the district for that matter, extremely forward thinking coordinators and administrators have provided a solid foundation for success but there is still room for improvement.